When some people vacation, they like to relax. Tropical beaches, sunny weather, cocktails by the pool — you know the drill. For others, though, something off the normal circuit is in order, something… freaky. If you’re looking for that kind of holiday experience, these ghostly getaways give you the opportunity to experience a little bit of the paranormal first hand — or spook yourself out trying. There are locations all across the United States where you can spend the night searching for spirits, in addition to haunted places to stay as far and wide as New Zealand and Wales. If you’re looking for the ultimate Halloween getaway, these are the most haunted hotels to sleep in — with one eye open.
1. Ruthin Castle Hotel, Wales
The Ruthin Castle Hotel in Wales hosts comfortable rooms in a refurbished setting — plus, it’s home to a drowning pool, a few dungeons, a whipping pit, and a lot of creepy things that go bump in the night. The site of a few historic murders, the hotel welcomes visitors who might be lucky enough to spy the ghost of Lady Grey, who was eventually sentenced to death after murdering her husband’s mistress. A stay here is sure to be fun for the whole family, as long as no one is particularly queasy.
2. The Queen Mary 2, California
This is the place to combine your love of nautical niceties with spooky sightings. The Queen Mary 2, docked at Long Beach, California, is apparently haunted by a lady in a white dress who can be seen wandering the decks at night. There are also the ghosts of guests who have died in the swimming pool, so unless you’re a strong swimmer, maybe avoid taking a dip. It even hosts a “Dark Harbour” Halloween event each autumn based on paranormal activities that have taken place on the ship.
3. Ballyseede Castle, Ireland
The female equivalent of Casper the Friendly Ghost can be found at Ballyseede Castle in Ireland. The hotel is haunted by the ghost of Hilda, the last of the Blennerhassett family, who built the current castle in the 18th century and is very benevolent. You can typically find her in her old bedroom, the Crosby Room, and she’s known to leave the scent of rose petals when she moves about the grounds. Hilda likes to admire the estate out the window and has been known to have a good old chat with visitors — she’s even made a few predictions of guests’ fortunes.
4. The Farnsworth House Inn, Pennsylvania
During the Civil War, The Farnsworth House Inn sheltered Confederate sharpshooters, and a stray bullet unfortunately struck the one civilian woman in the house, Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade. It’s said that these days, a number of soldiers haunt the house with the sound of footsteps and music. They’ve also been rumored to make an occasional visit to the bedrooms of visitors. Many guests describe entities that skulk through the rooms at night, believed to be the souls of young men who died during the war.
5. The Chateau Tongariro, New Zealand
The Chateau Tongariro, a haunted hotel located at the base of Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, used to be a women’s asylum. Staff at the hotel mention the spirit of a nurse called Charlotte who died there, as well as other unknown patients who killed themselves while living on the grounds. It’s common for curtains to move, fires to splutter and go out, and doors to open and close without reason. The isolation of the place certainly adds to the spooky atmosphere, even if you are surrounded by some pretty plush digs.
6. Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Massachusetts
The name is a dead giveaway with this one. The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast is based in the former home of its namesake, everyone’s favorite axe murderer. Located in Fall River, Massachusetts, the house was the scene of the brutal killings of various members of the Borden clan and must be one of the most famously haunted places to stay in the Northeast. You can stay in the very rooms where they met their endings or in Lizzie’s room itself. Tours of the house are run every day, or you can rent the whole house for an extra creepy family reunion.
7. Castello della Castelluccia, Rome
The Castello della Castelluccia in Rome offers a multi-faceted approach to paranormal activity as it is apparently haunted by several prominent ghosts: Emperor Nero, an alchemist who was killed in a lightning strike, and a full-on herd of horses that insist on galloping around the property at night. Staying in the local castle, you’ll hopefully luck out and experience at least one of its long-term residents.
8. The Stanley Hotel, Colorado
We, of course, can’t overlook The Stanley Hotel, the Estes Park, Colorado standby which gained fame as the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, based on the Stephen King book of the same name. The Stanley family, who established the remote hotel to experience the healing winter air of the high Rockies, apparently never actually checked out of the place. It’s reported that they haunt the corridors, which provided ample inspiration for the creepy book and movie, as well as the nightly tours that draw ghost fanatics from around the globe. The Stanley Hotel hosts an annual Shining Ball, sure to provide lots of freaky festive fun and the perfect opportunity to incorporate that hatchet into your Halloween costume.
9. Tulloch Castle, Scotland
Scotland’s Tulloch Castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a lady in green — Elizabeth Davidson, a daughter of the former owner. If you spy her, she’s apparently a bit of a sad soul, often spotted wandering the hallways mournfully exclaiming “why” over and over. Guests report feelings of overwhelming sorrow in her presence. Sinister.